Fabric shopping in South East Asia

Monday, 11 February 2008
Hello and welcome to my blog. Yes, another blog about sewing but hey I can't be always be a lurker without contributing to the fantastic array of sewing based inspirational sites out there.

So I thought I would start with a little post about fabric shopping in South East Asia, since I've just come back from travelling around Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia for six weeks in December and January. And frankly, I'm still impressed and overwhelmed with all that I saw and a little unimpressed and underwhelmed with how little I bought in the end. It was so hot and busy there I obviously wasn't thinking straight!
Anyway, a rundown of my purchases:
Thailand: fabric in Bangkok is soooo cheap, and some is quite good quality IMO. I steered clear of the 'wools' because I was a bit dubious about their quality, but bought up big on cottons. In the Chinatown and Indian districts there is a market called Sampeng Lane where there are just so many shops and a lot of the people spoke English and had prices marked, although of course you still have to haggle! Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand also had lots of fabric stores with good cotton fabrics. Total purchases: 15m of cotton shirting, 8m of cotton prints

Vietnam: markets in Vietnam had so much fabric, but not that great quality and frankly rather boring selections as well. In Hanoi there are whole floors of rather uninspiring fabric in the markets, however in Hoi An there was a delightful little fabric market with some great cotton prints and lovely silk in varying weights. All the stall owners will readily do a burn test to prove the quality of their fabric. Total purchases: 5m black silk and 5m fuschia silk.

Laos: not a great selection, but there were a lot of ethnic prints and some silk available in the capital Vientiane. I didn't actually buy any fabric here at all

Cambodia: I love love love Cambodia, beautiful country and the loveliest people. Things are a little dearer in Cambodia but still dirt cheap compared with everywhere else. I bought some lovely raw silk in the markets in Siem Reap, although the market places in Pnomh Penh have a huge selection also. Total purchases: 20m raw silk in purple, mint green, black and a purple/green colour.

Now onto sewing things with these stash additions (as if the stash wasn't big enough to begin with!)

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